20 December 2014

The Great Betrayal: How Liberals Appease Islam

.... For years, a dizzying gulf has stretched between the principles most good and responsible liberals say they hold — beliefs in reasoned argument, democracy, and equal rights for women, gays and people of all colours and creeds — and their practical failure to oppose radical Islam. A few of us tried to persuade them to mean what they say and behave accordingly.

Some of us have stayed on the Left. Others have given up on what looks an irredeemably compromised movement and attacked liberal-left orthodoxy from the right. I will not pretend that any of us have had a great deal of success.

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light," said Max Planck, "but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." [Standpoint] Read more

19 December 2014

We cannot counter jihadism until we stop denying its ideological origins

.... The first reaction to every Islamist terror attack is the now mandatory chant of ‘this has nothing to do with Islam’ with any attempts to debate being dubbed racist, culturally insensitive and Islamophobic.

The Guardian by one of the most renowned Pakistani writers, virtually hours after the Peshawar attack, which claimed that the massacre isn’t about religion because both the attackers and the victims belonged to the same religion.

And this is precisely the sort of ‘head in the sand’ denialism that has aided the spread of the jihadist ideology in Pakistan.

When the chants of ‘Allaho Akbar’ and the obvious lure of a hedonist afterlife don’t suffice in highlighting the influence of religion on suicidal terrorist attacks, one wouldn’t expect any heed to be paid to the TTP spokesman Mohammed Khorasani quoting a hadith in the immediate aftermath of the school attack to justify the violence in Peshawar. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

Halal and kosher food labelling: shoppers will be told how their meat has been killed

.... There has been growing concern that consumers are unwittingly buying meat that was the result of religious ritual slaughter after it emerged that diners had been unknowingly served halal chicken in Pizza Express and other restaurants.

Early next year, the European Commission is due to report on whether meat sold in the European Union should bear labels detailing how the animal was slaughtered. Mr Eustice appeared to rule out UK products being labelled “halal” or “kosher”, but said meats could in future be sold as “stunned” or “unstunned” – effectively alerting shoppers as to whether their meat was killed according to religious guidelines.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] So it can be Labelled Free range or organic, but not Kosher or Halal? If I didn't know better, I would think our politicians don't have the courage to offend minorities.

[SECOND] .... it's easy to understand where these ideas came from and why they were a good idea at the time. However here in Europe, we are relatively modern and relatively civilised. We no longer burn witches. We no longer practice religious torture to release the devil from deviants. We've also managed to develop modern methods to slaughter animals, where pain and suffering is minimised. We also have refrigeration. There is no place for religious claptrap trumping the rights of animals to end their lives as painlessly as possible. In short, NO!

[THIRD] Why does the British Government want to cover up whether an animal has had a prayer said over it by a 'minority' religion, whether marked 'stunned' or 'unstunned'?

I do not want to eat meat that has been 'blessed' by a religion I don't subscribe to, yet successive governments and all of this Parliament think this is acceptable. Why?

[FOURTH] Buy your meat from a traditional British butcher's shop that puts the beef and pork side-by-side in the display.

[FIFTH] Halal/Kosher unstunned slaughter should be made illegal. Unspeakable animal cruelty has no place in these islands. It's just another example of where our culture has been permitted by the gutless establishment to be overturned by immigrants. Enough. [The Telegraph] Read more

Of course religion plays a part in terror

Dr al Qutob claims that the Sydney gunman was a criminal, not a Muslim. This brings to mind the words of Tony Blair in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when he claimed that the perpetrators were not Islamic terrorists, just “terrorists pure and simple”.

But by the time London was attacked in July 2005, Blair had changed his tune. In a speech to the Labour Party conference, and recounting by then 26 al-Qaeda episodes, he noted that the terrorists’ motivation was “a religious ideology, a strain within the worldwide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa are from Christianity. But do not let us underestimate it or dismiss it. Those who kill in its name believe genuinely that in doing it, they do God’s work; they go to paradise”.

.... If Dr Al Qutob wishes to persuade the world that Islam is a peaceful religion he might do better to address the substantial number of his co-religionists around the world who clearly take a very different view to his on aggression and terrorism, rather than berating the media. [The Independent] Read more

Survey: About one third of Germans supportive of anti-Islam rallies

.... Asked if it was "good that someone draws attention to mistakes in political asylum policies and opposes Islamists," which is how Pegida presents its stance, 36 per cent of easterners and 33 per cent of westerners agreed.

The pollsters interviewed 1,025 Germans and adjusted the findings to be representative of the whole German population over 18.

Government officials have repeatedly denounced Pegida as a rightist movement, saying Germany is not being "Islamized." Muslims make up far less - 4 per cent - of German society than popularly believed, and the bulk of current refugee arrivals from Syria are Christians. [Europe Online] Read more

Death threats for Saudi cleric after wife shows face on TV

A prominent cleric has caused uproar in Saudi Arabia by bringing his wife on national television with her face uncovered, in an open challenge to conservative traditions of dress.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamedi has been receiving death threats since his wife, Jawaher, accompanied him on a popular chat show earlier this week, delighting reformists and scandalising conservatives. [The Times (£)] Read more

18 December 2014

Should We Allow Mentally Ill 'Lone Wolves' To Call Themselves A Terrorist?

.... Lone wolf attackers like Monis portray themselves as terrorists or freedom fighters, demanding to be thought of as part of the global jihadi cause, associating themselves with big headline-grabbing groups, from Al Qaeda to Islamic State. But is there a danger to giving them the attention they crave.

"Islamic State is the biggest brand around," Raffaello Pantucci, director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told HuffPost UK. "It's a big anti-establishment brand, that has eclipsed all else. It's a brand that other people want to be associated with, they want to catch that spotlight.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Why get into a semantics argument over whether the Huffington Post wants to call him a terrorist or not?

Moreover, there is no clinical evidence that this murderer in Australia was any more or less mentally ill than those who behead innocent care workers in Iraq because they happen to be American or British.

It was a criminal act, yet another atrocity committed in the name of Islam.

[ANOTHER] I think a better question would be - 'Should we allow a violent, intolerant, backward ideology to be called a Religion?'

[ANOTHER] More to the point, should we allow the HuFF to blacken the name of millions of people with mental health issues in order to divert attention from the common factor in most terrorist crimes against humanity?

Time and again it is ISLAM [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

17 December 2014

A seriously flawed document - The GCC Human Rights Declaration

But it’s on freedom of thought and expression that the GCC document most seriously diverges from the Universal Declaration. Article 18 of the UNDHR says:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

The corresponding article in the GCC document (Article 6) says:

“Freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites is a right of every human according to the system (law) without prejudice to public order and public morals.”

Once again, the GCC has deleted the word “conscience” but, more importantly, it also makes freedom of belief subject to law, public order and morals.

This is fundamentally at odds with international standards which regard freedom of “thought, conscience and religion” as an absolute and unconditional right which cannot be modified by individual states. [al-bab.com] Read more

Islamist call for Algerian author's death stirs outrage

An Islamist call for author Kamel Daoud to be condemned to death for alleged apostasy has stirred outrage in Algeria, reviving dark memories of the country's brutal civil war.

Salafist activist Abdelfatah Hamadache Ziraoui has called on his Facebook page for authorities to impose the death penalty against the author and to execute him in public.

The call came after Daoud, in an appearance on French television, criticised the relationship between Muslims and their religion. Ziraoui, who campaigns for bans on alcohol and bathing costumes on the beach, accused the author of apostasy for "waging war on Allah, his prophet, the Koran and the values sacred to Islam". [Daily Mail - AFP] Read more

After the Pakistan school attack, we need to talk about Islam

"There is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror." (Prime Minister David Cameron reacting to the beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamists who shouted “Allahu Akbar" and quoted 22 verses from the Koran.)

"They don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world." (David Cameron’s reaction to the massacre by Islamists in Nairobis’s Westgate shopping centre of anyone who failed to name the mother of the founder of Islam or recite verses from the Koran.)

"This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam... Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace." (Theresa May’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, 2014.)

Islamic State has "nothing to do with the great religion of Islam, a religion of peace." (David Cameron, denying any connection between the creation of an Islamic caliphate and Islam.) [The Telegraph] Read more

16 December 2014

Before he flew the black flag, Monis was just a desperate man with a violent past

.... Monis’s use of the flag was detached from the reality the symbols of Islam ought to represent. It was detached from the communities who own these symbols. It was detached from knowledge, detached from debates, detached from Islamic law. It was detached even from his own life.

Perhaps most tellingly, it was detached from Isis itself, who would never have accepted him, and need not accept him to carry out violence in their flag’s name.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 146 votes] There is no modern Islam, Islam needs a reformation but will not get it. .... there is a worldwide Islamist movement running along the lines of their war Lord prophet where people have to be conquered and subjugated by the sword. Muhammad lived that way, and they wish to lead their lives the same, trying to spread Islam by violence if they must. Loners or groups, they all use scripture to justify their acts.

[SECOND 145v] ISIS asked people to commit lone wolf attacks in Australia,.... That was what Manis did. Fair enough he had issues, but at the end of the day it was done in the name of Islam, very similar to the gentleman that tried to kill the two policeman in Victoria.

[THIRD 94v] "and like all of those who are convinced that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong he took actions that unjustly hurt others".

What!? I've met quite a few people who think they are right while everyone else is wrong, but they didn't go around deliberately hurting or killing people.

[FOURTH 87v] The thing is we know this guy was a nutter, and we know most Muslims are perfectly decent people, but it's impossible to ignore that right now, around the world from Nigeria, to Libya, to Syia, to Iraq, to Pakistan, Afghanistan etc, SOME Muslims are doing some pretty unspeakable things in the name of Islam. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Pakistan’s sickening massacre isn’t about religion – it’s about intimidation

.... barely a week later, we are weeping as we see the images on our televisions of schoolchildren being carried out an army school in Peshawar in their blood-spattered uniforms, victims of a Taliban attack which has so far killed 126 people.

Most of the children killed were between 10 and 16 years old, children of army officers who were listening to a speech being given by a senior military officer when the gunmen struck.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 833 votes] "Pakistan’s sickening massacre isn’t about religion – it’s about intimidation"

Of course its about religion and one religion's desire to dominate and exert its will with extreme violence. Denying it is akin to burying your head in the sand.

[SECOND 627v] "Pakistan’s sickening massacre isn’t about religion – it’s about intimidation"

Indeed: "Follow my religion, or else..."

[THIRD 537v] If there is one thing I have learned from reading the Guardian it is that Islam is never at fault for anything

[FOURTH 417v] "To survive as a country Pakistan needs to map out a road to peace, with the army, politicians and the people rallying under a unifying cause."

But who are the 'people'? Your state persecutes Christians, Ahmadis, the Shia, the secular, anyone who does not subscribe to the hard line Sunnah.

Your state is a disaster - you have no law and order. When Christians are murdered and their butchers make accusations of blasphemy, your worthless police issue a statement taking the accusation as fact.

And your politicians are cowards and bigots.

[FIFTH 385v] "Pakistan’s sickening massacre isn’t about religion – it’s about intimidation"

Really. I would argue it's all about inadequate men fuelled by the cancer of religious fanaticism. Just adherants of the religion of peace doing what they like best. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Germany’s ‘pinstripe Nazis’ show the immigration debate is overheated

Rightwing parties are on the rise across Europe. Should we worry? Such movements have come and mostly gone for decades. They draw strength from immigrant surges and economic woes. The Pegida rallies – Germany’s “pinstripe Nazis” – now drawing thousands of marchers to German cities, are specifically anti-Muslim. But are they different from similar movements in France, Sweden, the Netherlands or Britain?

Any expression of racial hatred from Germany is bound to be alarming, but every nation has its political fringe.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 206 votes] It's disturbing that legitimate fears about islam are dismissed as 'racism'. In my working life, I have worked alongside many, many people of, shall we say, 'muslim heritage'. I have to say that, the more 'islamic' they were, the harder they were to get on with. Those who didn't bother, or who only paid lip-service, included many splendid people I'm proud to have known.

The problem is islam, not race.

[SECOND 198v] "Somehow the temperature has to be reduced before the lid blows." At last someone on the Guardian gets it.

We need to drastically reduce immigration, and aggressively promote integration, by asserting a common set of core enlightenment values. No more pandering to minority cultures, and the liberals' beloved multicultural experiment must be thrown down the toilet.

[THIRD 126v] If it's overheated, it's only because the bloody minded mass migration brigade have refused to listen when people say they simply do not want this happening to their countries.

[FOURTH 107v] "The temperature has to be reduced".

I suspect Jenkins means that we should criticise Muslims less, rather than Muslims should, you know, DO something about problems in their community. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Anti-Islam 'Pegida' march in German city of Dresden

About 15,000 people have taken part in a march against "Islamisation of the West" in the east German city of Dresden.

A large counter-demonstration of more than 5,000 people was also held. No major incidents were reported.

Dresden is the birthplace of a movement called "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West" (Pegida), which staged a big rally a week ago.

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Germans not to be exploited by extremists.

"There's freedom of assembly in Germany, but there's no place for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries,'' Mrs Merkel said in Berlin. [BBC] Read more

15 December 2014

New FBI Hate Crime Stats: Another Blow to Islamist Fictions

The FBI's newly released hate crime statistics for 2013 offer a fresh example of how reality refuses to conform to the dubious narrative of widespread Muslim victimization at the hands of American bigots.

As in previous years, most hate crimes were not religiously motivated, most religiously motivated hate crimes were anti-Jewish, and Muslims suffered fewer total incidents than many groups and fewer per capita than gays or Jews. Anti-Islamic crimes did not involve greater violence than others and have not become more frequent. A glance at the details: [Islamist Watch] Read more

Saudi School threatened with closure

Mathias Meissner, press spokesman for the School Board, told The Local that the school failed to give names for its staff and management by a December 1st deadline, which it is legally obliged to do.

The school can appeal the board’s decision within four weeks.

The school has been under review since November after a report in News magazine alleged that conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism were being taught at the school. Meissner said that these allegations still have to be proved, and the board plans to carry out inspections in the near future. [The Local] Read more

Saudi Arabia: 10,000 Twitter accounts closed and users arrested over 'religious violations'

Saudi Arabia's religious police have closed at least 10,117 Twitter accounts in 2014 over religious violations.

Turki Al-Shulail, spokesman of The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), explained that some users were also arrested.

"Users were committing religious and ethical violations," he told Arab News.

"Haia blocked and arrested some of their owners. However, it was hard to follow all the accounts due to the advanced security used in this kind of social media." [International Business Times] Read more

14 December 2014

Merkel in dilemma as German anti-Islam marches gain support

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces challenges from allies and rivals to confront a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment driving increasingly popular anti-Islam marches in the city of Dresden every Monday.

With thousands expected at the next march, Merkel is in a dilemma. Her security officials are warning of an increase in hate crimes, while opinion polls show support for the marchers' calls for a tougher German immigration policy.

"There is a visible rise in xenophobic crime countrywide," police chief Holger Muench told Welt am Sonntag, which like most German Sunday newspapers focused on Monday's march by a group calling itself PEGIDA - an acronym for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West". [Reuters] Read more

13 December 2014

New 'Islamic doll' launched in Britain has no facial features

A new ‘Islamic doll’ with no facial features has been launched in Britain.

The ‘Deeni Doll’ has no eyes, nose or mouth whatsoever in a bid to comply with Islamic rules governing the depiction of faces.

The doll was manufactured in China and designed in the UK by Ridhwana B. She told us: “I came up with the idea from scratch after speaking to some parents who were a little concerned about dolls with facial features.

“Some parents won’t leave the doll with their children at night because you are not allowed to have any eyes in the room.

“There is an Islamic ruling which forbids the depiction of facial features of any kind and that includes pictures, sculptures and, in this case, dolls.

“I spoke to a religious scholar in Leicester who guided me through what was and what was not permissible when producing the product. [Asian Image] Read more

Germans want tougher stance from Merkel on immigration - poll

A majority of Germans think Angela Merkel's government is paying too little attention to concern about immigration and asylum seekers that has prompted weekly marches in the city of Dresden, according to a poll.

In the survey by TNS for Spiegel magazine, to be published on Sunday, 65 percent said the chancellor's right-left coalition was not taking current record levels of immigration and asylum seekers seriously enough.

More than a third believe Germany is undergoing a process of "Islamisation". Dresden has seen increasingly popular Monday marches under the slogan PEGIDA, which stands for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West". [Reuters] Read more

Girl disguised as man caught in Saudi stadium

Saudi Police arrested a local girl disguised in man’s clothes during a football match at a sport stadium in the conservative Gulf kingdom, a newspaper said on Saturday.

Policemen rushed to the place after the girl was exposed by security cameras while seated among men at the stadium in the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Women are banned from entering sport stadiums in Saudi Arabia but there have been reports about plans to allow them into separate places assigned only for females.

[Emirates247.com] Read more

12 December 2014

The evangelical giftwrapping of Islamophobia marches on

.... And here we come to the heart of the purpose of OCC. For, according to the boss and guiding force of OCC, Franklin Graham – son of the evangelist Billy Graham – Islam is not just wrong, it is “a very wicked and evil religion”.

And by that he does not mean that Islam has been taken over by dangerous radicals, but that Islam itself is intrinsically evil. He recently told the British journalist Ruth Gledhill that Islam has been the same for 1,500 years. It “has not been hijacked by radicals” but is essentially a “religion of war”.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 298 votes] Still, at least they aren't crucifying anybody, which is more than could be said of Isis.

[SECOND 274v] The fundamentalists of both Islam and Christianity are equally absurd but there is one difference:

you can lampoon, satirize, cartoonize, seriously critique and question the history and mythology of one lot without having to go into hiding.

[THIRD 263v] “There is only one way to be friends with God.” In many places these boxes are distributed, this is thinly disguised code for: Islam is wrong."

Yes, why thinly disguise it rather than be upfront as the Qu'ran is when it declares Christianity to be wrong. [Guardian Cif] Read more

House of Lords debates FGM and Sharia Law in the UK

.... Baroness Cox then drew attention to the situation of women trapped in Islamic 'marriages', and discussed a new report on that subject. The report detailed the concerns that Lady Flather raised, that women in Islamic 'marriages' are left without legal protection in the event of a 'divorce' and that many Muslim women are unaware of their legal rights.

Lady Cox said: "several Muslim women have told me that men in their communities may each have up to 20 children," adding that this leads to children growing up in "dysfunctional families." Citing information from the report, Lady Cox said: "Two-thirds of those who are married are in polygamous marriages.

Some say that they did not know that they were a second or third wife when they were married. Of these, almost all said that their husbands fail to provide them with financial support, in contravention of Islamic teaching. Many of these women are desperately unhappy." [National Secular Society] Read more

How Pakistan's women are punished for love

In a country fighting to preserve patriarchal and tribal traditions, Pakistan's women can face brutality - and even death - if they fall in love with the wrong person.

Arifa, 25, dared to stand up to her family, running away with the man she fell in love with and secretly marrying him.

The following day in a busy street in Karachi, Pakistan's most populous city, her male family members surrounded the newlyweds and, at gunpoint, dragged Arifa away. [BBC] Read more

Top judge calls for rules which force women to take off veils when giving evidence in court

Women in veils should be compelled to show their faces when giving evidence in court under “tougher” new rules to ensure that justice is done, Britain’s most senior female judge said today.

Baroness Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said “ways have got to be found” to ensure that face coverings are removed for key parts of court hearings and added that there “must come a point” at which judges insist veils are lifted.

She said that seeing faces could be “important” and “necessary” when women were testifying and on other occasions, such as when the issue of identity or recognition was at stake. [Evening Standard] Read more